Let’s dive right in:
Sit down: this issue is COMPLETELY BY MEN. OK, not COMPLETELY – but every single feature article (plus the cover) is by a man.
People say that the NYer Whiteboy Watch is reductionist and simplistic and meaningless, but c’mon people – can it really mean nothing when a general interest magazine read by oodles of women so consistently favors male perspectives? I know it’s so passé to think that men don’t realize that they are benefiting from patriarchy every second of the day and therefore cannot adequately express everything worth expressing in the world because there are some ideas and perspectives that can only be adequately expressed by those outside “the system” – but, what can I say? That’s what I believe.
The two poems were by women, as were 2 of the 5 Talk of the Town shorties – neither of which was by the dreaded Lizzie Widdicombe. Instead we got the darling and charming Lillian Ross – don’t you love her?
I just found this issue hiding under the bed and realized I haven’t actually read past Talk of the Town, so I will subject the rest of the issue to my patented blend of caustic wit and wisdom soon.
A much more respectable ratio of 10 men to 4 women in this issue. Talk of the Town was all womaned up – 1 dude (the first and more prominent piece), 4 women!
Just so I can bitch about something: Is anyone else weary of J.J. Sempé’s cloyingly cute covers? I am.
Just so I can balance the bitchiness: My god I loved the Emily Moore poem on page 29. To women! To abundance! To enough! From your mouth to David Remnick’s ears, dear.
Back to bitching: Takashi Murakami: ick. Thanks to Peter Schjeldahl for explaining why.
It’s always fun to have a personal connection to The NYer, and mine always seem to come through my clients (though a friend of mine was once profiled in the magazine! I’ll never tell who!). A few years ago a client was mentioned in a Talk of the Town piece, and my awesome delivery person (and innkeeper), Megan, pointed out that I have a client who lives in The (infamous) Stanton! How exciting.
I’ve been busily trying to ignore the phenomenon of young writers named Jonathan – why did no one tell me Jonathan Franzen was so fun? I might have to rethink the boycott.
Talk of the Town: 3 men, 2 women. But bonus points for profiling two feminist foremothers (Robin Morgan, Elizabeth Cady Stanton).
Features/reviews/poetry/cover: 9 men, 6 women! Awesome awesome.
I haven’t finished reading this issue, so any extra awesomeness/ridiculousness will be reported on at a later date.
I haven’t even started this one yet, yikes.
Talk of the Town: 4 men, 1 woman (Lizzie W!)
Features/reviews/poetry/cover: 11 men, 3 women! Not awesome, not awesome.
(The NYerWbW is a regular feature whereby my mother and I keep track of the male/female breakdown in The New Yorker magazine. We include stats on the front section of short pieces [“Talk of the Town,” sometimes referred to as TotT] the main features section, the reviews section, [“The Critics”], poems and the cover. We do not include the male/female breakdown of the cartoons, but my educated guess is that it is usually 95% dudes. The “spots” have never, to my knowledge, been by a woman, and we don’t include them either.)